News

News

Shrine of the Báb, Mount Carme, Haïfa, Israël * Photo: Golgasht Mossafai

Montreal, May 23, 2020 - In a dozen neighbourhoods in Montreal and around the world, Bahá'ís celebratedthe declaration of the mission of the Báb, the Herald of a Universal Faith. These celebrations wereorganized by online Communications Applications  with the participation of a large number of participants.

This day is also important for the entier world because the first Morse communication signals weretransmitted from Baltimore; a telegraph message made up of dots and dashes! A curious message; "Whathath God wrought." The author of the message; an Old Testament verse (Number 23:23); was none otherthan Annie Ellsworth, who was looking for a suitable sentence, at the request of Samuel Morse, designer ofthe alphabet of the same name, to be transmitted by Morse Codes. It is not certain whether Annie foundthis verse by chance or that she took her time to find a sentence that could convey the importance of theevent! The event occurred in the basement of the Capitol building in Washington D.C., the place where thecountry's Supreme Court is located. Annie's attention was drawn on a Bible in the room and, probably, shethought she could find a sentence of an importance significance in this book to convey the importance of that remarkable event and strange enough, she found it!

Samuel Morse was not meant to mark the history of telecommunications. Can you imagine that, by trade,he was an artist painter! This idea of sending messages at the speed of electricity would have come to himat the time of the death of his wife... He was on a trip to Washington for a portrait of General de La Fayetteand, learnt too late of his wife's condition, he was unable to return in time to bid her farewell. He thenpromised to invent a way to transmit information faster than at the speed of mail.

Morse was 600 kilometres away in Washington, D.C., on Capitol Hill. The destination of the message wasBaltimore. The speed of transmission was thirty characters per minute nevertheless this short messagetransformed the history of telecommunications around the world! Since then, the Morse Code has falleninto disuse, replaced by radios, laptops, and even the Internet!

Samuel Morse's device, telegram, the Bible in question, telegraph message in the form of dots and dashesare currently at the Science and Technology Museum in Washington D.C.

During the same 24 hours, in the upper chamber of a modest residence in a poor neighbourhood of Shiráz,Iran, the son of a mercer, descendent from the prophetic lineage of Abraham and Muhammad, inaugurateda New Dispensation for humanity, a unifying Revelation that prompts the future global relationship of humanbeings, the New Era of humanity!  The life and teachings of the Báb symbolises a turning point in thehistory of mankind.

Born Siyyid Ali-Muhammad in 1819, he took the name Báb, which means "The Gate" in Arabic. Its publicmission, from 1844 to 1850, represented a spiritual revolution that overturned the social, political andreligious order that prevailed in Persia, opening the door to the new unifying vision of Bahá'u'lláh. The Bábwas a Messenger of God in the succession of divine educators who came over the centuries, includingAbraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad. The Báb appeared at a time inhistory when the cultures and peoples of the world were getting closer than ever before. The 19th centurysaw a series of profound economic, political, scientific and cultural changes that an eminent historian calledit the "transformation of the world."

Montreal, April 8, 2020 - One of the most beloved and active members of the Montreal's Bahá'í community, Khosrow Saidi (1940-2020), left this mortal world for the immortal Kingdom of eternity! This unexpected news brought deep sadness and a deep sense of loss to the entire Bahá'í Community in Montreal.

In response to the call of the Universal House of Justice and as part of the activities of the expansion of the Bahá'í Faith, the Saidi family left Iran in 1975 to serve in Africa. The young family inspired by the love of the Faith, left their homeland for the first time to serve in an unknown continent.

When they left Iran, they only knew they would go to West Africa. Their journey took them first to Niger, to Togo and then to Ghana before landing in Ivory-Coast.

Mr. Saidi, was known for his jokes and his great sense of humor, always ready to help friends at any time, no matter the obstacle! He was always very positive, with immense confidence in the love and power of God. His life was dedicated to the Faith!

He particularly liked to have their home open to friends and guests! His family thought it was a prerequisite to have a guest at home for lunch, dinner or sleep. The important question of the day was "Who's the guest at home today?" Their house was known as the "Saidi Hotel" where hundreds of friends, pioneers and members of many Bahá'í Institutions gathered and stayed there.

In Abidjan, while in charge of the Centre for Broadcasting Education at the University of Ivory-Coast, he helped inaugurate the first Bahá'í Audiovisual Centre in West Africa. In this role, he oversaw the production of audiovisual material to help teach the Faith in many West African countries.

For the past 35 years, following political problems in Ivory-Coast, the Saidi family has moved its field of service to Montreal where Mr. Saidi served in various Institutions of the Faith, virtually until the end of his life.

In 2017, his health began to deteriorate: he slowly began to lose his voice, but not his smile and his habit of hugging everyone to show his affection. In 2018, his health has reached a critical stage. Unfortunately, the pandemic prevented the family from being with Mr. Saidi for the past four weeks before his soul took its flight to the kingdom of Ahá. However, we are confident that his soul felt their daily prayers during the last days of his life.

The Baha'i community in Montreal sends its deepest sympathy and love to his wife, Mehri, son Arash and daughter, Anissa, and her husband Poupak Jannissar and grandchildren, Bayan, Daryan, Leana, Mila and Kami. There was no better example of service than Mr. Saidi's with his hospitality and warmth of affection. We cherish his memory in the same way that he welcomed us, with great warmth he surrounded us and always lifted our hearts.

Hundreds of friends from all continents gathered in a virtual commemoration.

Click on the photo to watch the video in French!

Montreal, November 25, 2019 - The two wings of a bird, science and religion, was the theme of the Bahá'í booth this year! A popular presentation for young and old, the Bahá'í stand has attracted many visitors of all types! In a five-day book fair, over a thousand people stopped by booth # 143, asked questions, or bought books. Many were also schoolchildren who entered into a dialogue about our theme of "Science and Religion"! They have decorated the two wings of the bird which represented this principle with colored feathers by inscribing their ideas for the progress of humanity!

This year, a special place has been given for a variety of literary genres within the Book Fair program, such as poetry, imaginary literatures and essays. Major social themes such as the environment, diversity and technologies are also highlighted through various presentations.

Our guest author at the Bahá'í booth was Mrs. Heather Niderost who presented her book "The Light World". A book signing session was held on Sunday afternoon. The video of an interview about this book and others will be available to friends on this site soon.

Still popular, the Book Fair has hosted 20,000 elementary and high school students free of charge on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Mondays. Many of these young visitors stop by the Bahá'í booth and participated in our interactive science and religion project.

The 42nd edition of the Montreal Book Fair at Place Bonaventure was marked by a number of changes that greatly contributed to making this Book Fair a great success. From beginning to end, a positive and friendly atmosphere reigned, much to the delight of the craftsmen/ women of the writing profession and visitors, always so many at the rendezvous!

A warm and enthusiastic atmosphere, a refreshing and airy layout, welcoming and beautifully arranged animation scenes: this latest Fair at Place Bonaventure, was an unforgettable experience.

Bringing people together around the book in a festive and inclusive context, fostering authentic and warm encounters between readers, authors and publishers is the essence of the Fair.

With a colorful and original program, families and children were not left out! This is how the chapter of the history of the Montreal Book Fair at Place Bonaventure ends, after 42 years of encounters and discoveries in this mythical place! After this successful edition, the Salon team is looking confidently into the future and is already preparing the next unavoidable meeting of books and readers: the 43rd edition of the SLM from 25 to 30 November 2020 at the Palais des Congrès I, Montreal !

The highlights of the 2019 SLM !

  • 2300 meetings between authors and readers during the signing sessions
  • 750 publishing houses meet their readers
  • The words and music of Ukrainian craftsmen/ women highlighted at the Look at Ukraine presentation
  • An unparalleled crowd on a free Wednesday
  • 315 dedicated volunteers who gave generously 1900 hours of their time
  • 1300 books collected as part of the Literacy Foundation's Gift Lecture Program
  • A first visit for the Mayor of Montreal Valérie Plante, a second visit for the Minister of the Family Mathieu Lacombe and a first public appearance as Minister of Canadian Heritage for Steven Guilbeault
  • 1000 CPE and daycare children at the very first Children's Morning
  • 20,000 students estimated as part of School Matinees
  • The management of the SLM is not willing to measure the success in numbers, because of the large amount of imponderables that interpose the activity, such as the attendance of school matinees which continues to grow due to the free day on Wednesday and free admission for children under 12, among others.
  • On 2018, about 120,000 people had made a dive to the big Montreal Book Fair.

The Montreal Book Fair Committee warmly thanks all the volunteers who have spent hours in the Bahá'í booth and created a pleasant atmosphere to welcome the public and schoolchildren to the Salon du livre.

Montreal, April 8, 2020 - Following the city by-law, the Montreal Bahá'í Community has advised all of its members to take note of - and follow - the measures put in place by health authorities and the government to stop the spread of the disease. COVID-Virus 19. As a result, all community gatherings were suspended at the Bahá'í Center as well as in the neighborhoods. 

The famous Backpack-Traveler of the book "The Earth is but country", André BRUGIROUX,  made the following remark: "This Covid-19 should not be as bad as one thinks since we find in it one of the "fetish" numbers of the Bahá'í Faith; 19*. We shall see what will result from it. I've been bawling around for fifty years trying to make people understand that the Earth is but one country. This little virus has irrefutably demonstrated its possibility! "

In a letter to the Community, the Spiritual Assembly, an administrative institution that manages the affairs of the Bahá'í Community in Montreal explains: - How strange it is for us as Bahá'ís, who strive with all our heart to bring people together, to do now all we can to keep them apart! As we join the global effort to practice "social distancing" in order to play our role in limiting infections to as few people as possible, we find ourselves charting unknown waters. How to continue our activities without having a meeting?

We are very pleased to announce that the Community has taken up this challenge with enthusiasm and vigor, turning to technology to overcome our spatial distance. No sooner this challenge manifested itself, a number of neighborhoods have used web conferencing software to organize the 19 Days Feasts, using it for devotional gatherings, and pre-youth activities which continues almost uninterruptedly, online.

Indeed, the 19 Day Feast** celebration of Jalál (Glory) took place in several neighborhoods online with the participation of a large number of friends! Prayers and Sacred texts were recited and consultation on various subjects took place as usual! The missing part was unfortunately the social part! Disregarding this shortcoming, some friends had prepared cakes and tea but lack of teletransportation equipment made it impossible to taste them!

The Spiritual Assembly continues in its letter that while we are all at home, for some of us living alone, is particularly difficult. Whether for groceries, looking for something in a pharmacy or just for company, we need to take care of those who are in this situation, and try to get in touch with them to make a difference in their lives.

It should be noted that the religious communities present in Quebec have asked the population to practice their religion at home and use electronic means of communication to celebrate religious activities!

“We are trying to motivate everyone who, in the name of faith, might find it difficult to stop going to their usual place of worship, to do so as an act of solidarity with all of Quebec and of Canada," said Monsignor Christian Lépine, archbishop of Montreal and member of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Quebec, to QUB Radio Tuesday morning.

"Religion gives strength to the soul, but the present event also is a call to stand in solidarity with others, so it is not a call to bypass science but acknowledge its value," he said.

*In accordance with Arabic numerology, the figure 19 translates to “Unity”

**19 Days Feast is celebrated on the first day of each Bahá’í month. The Bahá’í calendar is a solar year of 19 months of 19 days with 4 or 5 days called “Intercalary Days” to complete a year of 365 days.

Photos : A 19 Days Feast in Montreal and a Global Webinar by André BRUGIROUX

Montreal, November 9, 2019 - As part of the Bicentennial activities of the Birth of the Báb, the Herald of the Baha'i faith, an arts festival was organized by the Montreal Community.

A premiere in Montreal's artistic activities, the Festival has brought together a considerable number of musicians, painters, graphic artists and authors for all tastes!

This event was very well received by Community members and friends from all over the island of Montreal. We also had the pleasure of having an author from British Columbia, Bernice Muir, with her excellent book: "Single, Alone, and Lowly, the story of a lady with an unshakeable faith and her journey through life! "   http://bernicelmuir.com

The author, professor emeritus at the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University in Montreal and a distinguished member of the American Psychiatric Association, Dr. Abdu'l-Missagh Ghadirian shared with the audience the story of Lua Getsigner (November 1, 1871, Hume, NY - May 2, 1916, Cairo, Egypt.), One of the first American Bahá'iís and the disciple of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá!

'Abdu'l-Bahá gave her the title of ‘Livá’ meaning ‘banner’, which allowed her to serve the Faith in many places, namely in Paris and on the American continent; she taught the principles of Bahá'u'lláh at the Unity and Peace Conference in India and represented the Faith during her visits to Muzaffari'd-Dín Shah of Persia when she went to Paris as well as to maharajah of Jhalawar.

Lua Getsinger had begged 'Abdu'l-Bahá to give him the blessing of becoming a martyr, but Master had advised her to teach the Faith instead! When Lua died suddenly of a heart attack in Egypt on May 2, 1916, at the age of forty-three, 'Abdu'l-Bahá named her a martyr posthumously.

In her presentation, Heather Niderost shared her experience of becoming the author of her first book. She had taken an art course at McGill university and while she was a student there she was undoubtedly inspired by the mentorship of Betty Galbraith-Cornell, a renowned Montreal landscape painter and portraitist who spent her time every summer at Metis Beach , in Gaspésie. Betty has taken Heather under her wing so to speak! Her environment was the source of inspiration for her paintings and the sketchbook was and still is her diary. Our house, she says, was designed by us, the studio and my books all reflect this genius inside.

Heather published her first book "The Quest" following her pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The book tells the story of a mad and wonderful journey of three young people searching for spiritual answers to today's conflict and chaos. The journey reveals a silver thread, a "promise", that runs through our human history as a whole and ultimately leads us to a solution that will save humanity from the clutches of its madness. It is a huge gallop in time, an intensive course of progressive revelation, a fundamental concept that is reflected in the Bahá'í Faith. The heroes of this epic - Lumina, Eric and Sophie - have arrived in the imminent world of existence, the "Light World", where all the questions arising from our earthly lives will have answers! Sophie joins Lumina and Eric, who call themselves "The Light Knights" and engage in this bold pursuit by taking us with them. Following the publication of this book, Heather's grandson commented that he had always thought that religions were confused and disconnected, but after reading "The Quest", he sees an explanation that makes sense!

Several musical interventions emblazoned the evening. Pierre Tremblay with his ensemble of instrumentalist musicians and vocalists made the evening a happy event! Rachel Luce, Mira-Clair Lepage, Gustaff Besungu, Jonathan, Ophélie Weldon and Pierre have created a very warm and enthusiastic atmosphere throughout the Festival. The artists invited to this Festival were Rachel Tremblay and Elham Paiandeh who presented their magnificent works, a delight for the eyes and an inspiration for souls! A display of variety of books written by authors present was available to view or buy.

A considerable number of authors, painters, photographers and filmmakers were among the participants in the Festival. This event was organized by the Montreal Bahá’í bookstore and the Montreal Bahá’í Authors group as an annual event where a variety of books, authors, visual artists and musicians are featured. 

"The arts, crafts and sciences elevate the world of being and are conducive to its exaltation. "

‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Montreal, October 29, 2019 - The celebrations that encircled the planet brought to vivid life the well-known passage of Bahá’u’lláh: “So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.

Two centuries ago during His brief and dramatic ministry, the Báb suffered exile, imprisonment, and martyrdom at the hands of a fanatical leadership that was determined to snuff out His light and keep the populace in darkness. He Himself during His imprisonment in the remote fortress of Máh-Ku was kept in darkness, denied even a candle at night. In contrast to that oppression, His Shrine on Mt. Carmel stands lit every evening as a reminder that His light, and indeed the light of Bahá’u’lláh for Whom He paved the way, cannot be put out.

In Montreal neighbourhoods, the celebrations were a tapestry of art and culture representing the rich cultural feature of this city, blessed with the footsteps of the Master ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in 1912!

Starting with NDG where numerous friends, parents, youths and children celebrated the event with songs, sketches and drama at the Community Centre.

A large celebration in Montreal attracted close to 200 participants. The Bahá’I Choral from «Coeur de l’Est» and musicians from iMusici de Montréal created an unforgettable evening. The event was held at the Reception Hall of Dawson College.

Saint-Laurent neighbourhood celebrated a memorable evening with the Mayor of the borough, Alain DeSousa, city counsellors and various representatives of Community organizations. In his welcome speech, the Mayor of the borough praised generously the efforts of the Bahá’í Community toward Peace and Harmony. He underlined the fact that the Bahá’ís all over the world are celebrating the Bicentenary in an atmosphere of fellowship and harmony and he and his collogues of City Hall are honoured to be with us in this celebrations. It is impressive, he said, that the Bahá’ís are settled in over 100 000 localities throughout the world which means that the followers of this Faith are contributing to the well-being and advancement of the society in four corners of the world. He mentioned that one of the fundamentals of the Faith is to be in the service of humanity and get involved in the life of the society. We are pleased to have this privilege in Saint-Laurent to be a part of this generosity to collaboration with the Bahá’ís and organize the International Peace day since 1985! A decree was signed on that day by previous mayor of Saint-Laurent to commemorate the event annually and we are faithfully doing it.

The mayor concluded his speech by thanking warmly the members of the Bahá’í Community who try very hard to bring about a better world!

The community of Outremont/ Petite Patrie featured a four day Art Exhibit at Gallery
Erga featuring the art of Munirih Campbell and Lorraine Pritchard. The public were invited to visit the gallery and take part in the celebration of the Bicentenary of the birth of the Báb.

 

Montreal, February 16,2020 – The Bahá’í Community of Montreal organized a memorable meeting to honour the life of ‘Ali Nakhjavani, who passed to the World Beyond on October 11, 2019 in France.

‘Alí-Yulláh Nakhjavání was born in 19 September 1919 in Baku, in then Azerbaijan Democratic Republic to ‘Ali-Akbar Nakhjavani and Fatimih Khánum, both Baháʼís, who rendered outstanding services to the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh. After his father's death circa 1921, when he was only two, his family was advised by ʻAbdu'l-Bahá to move to Haifa, where he was raised. 

He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the American University of Beirut in 1939. In the early 1940s he returned to Iran, residing first in Tihrán, then Tabriz and finally in Shiraz. He was elected in 1950 as a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran, the governing body of the Baháʼís in that country, where he served until the following year. He got married in Tihrán to Violet Banáni, a daughter of the late Hand of the Cause pf God, Músa Banáni.

Violet, ‘Ali and their two young children, Bahiyyih and Mehran, moved in 1951 to Uganda, Africa to assist with the development of the Baháʼí Community in that country. While he was there he worked as a teacher and lecturer. During his early years there, Enoch Olinga (Later appointed as a Hand of the Cause of God by Shoghi-Effendi) joined the Faith and in 1953 accompanied by his wife along with Olinga and two other Baháʼís, travelled from Uganda to Cameroon to help spread the Baháʼí Faith in there. Three years later he was appointed as an Auxiliary Board member and in 1956 he was elected to the Bahá’í National Spiritual Assembly of Central and East Africa. 

In 1961 he was elected to the International Baháʼí Council — the forerunner to the Universal House of Justice, the worldwide governing body of the Baháʼí Community — and thus moved to Haifa. In 1963 he was elected to the Universal House of Justice during its inaugural convention, and served as a member of that body until 2003. After his retirement from the Bahá’í World Center, ‘Ali Nakhjavani and Violet travelled extensively throughout Europe, North America and Russian Azerbaijan. They visited Montreal several times and attended the celebration of the Centenary of the passage of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to this city as well as the ceremony of the inauguration of the Shrine (Maxwell’s home)

Whether in vacation or special mission from the Universal House of Justice, he made a point to cross into African continent, where he spent one of his most cherished part of his life. The 10 years he lived there, he travelled throughout the continent in various countries, he loved its people, its culture, its spiritual openness, its dignified and simple but powerful response to the message of unity and faith. The years in Africa stayed with him until his last days on this earth. Whenever he had the chance to visit Africa, one could sense truly his love directed towards the African continent and its people. His heart was in Africa, his thoughts, his preoccupations, his pure love was for the many people he crossed paths with in his years in that torn yet wonderful continent. He loved the genuine character of the people he met, their purity, their joy and their happiness despite their difficulties. His work and tireless service in Uganda, in the remote villages and rural areas, his extraordinary travels with a small car through the crazy muddy roads to traverse various countries with his beloved wife to bring Mr. Olinga to the other side of the continent, the adventures, the crisis, the victories – all of these made his soul fall in love with Africa and created a special bond with the continent which will endure forever.

There are so many people who carry his name in Africa because, as per tradition, if you touch someone’s life, their children are given your name as a tribute, so you will find many people whose first name is Nakhjavani. Most importantly they carry his spirit: the spirit of service and dedication that he has shone forth all these years.

If one wants to remember Mr. Nakhjavani, one cannot help but also think of his beloved companion throughout his life, dear Violette Nakhjavani – together they represented an example of unity, respect and love which is rarely seen.

Jalál Nakhjavání 

17 Sep 1917 - 9 May 1982

Ali Nakhjavani would never want to be remembered without mentioning his beloved parents and his dear brother Jalal. His immense love for his father and especially for his mother is indescribable. Every service, every victory, every success of his life was not claimed by him. He would always mention the blessings of his parents and how grateful he was to them for all their love.

Mr. Nakhjavani used to say “finita la musica” at the end of every talk but as one reflects on his earthly life, so close to the celebration of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Báb, it is timely to think that he has just joined the beginning of a musical piece, a beautiful spiritual concert in the next world.

Besides his numerous talks given in Europe, Unites States, Africa and Russia, he has authored some twenty books and articles. He continued with his writings practically until the end of his life. His outstanding books on the life of his father Mirza Ali-Akbar-i-Nakhjavani as well as “Shoghi Effendi: The Range and Power of His Pen”, are well known.

Mr. Nakhjavani passed away on October 11, 2019 at the age of 100 years old in France.

It was with sorrowing hearts that the Universal House of Justice conveyed the news of his passing in the early hours of the  morning, to the Bahá’í World: 

We mourn the loss of an extraordinary figure who leaves behind a distinguished legacy of uninterrupted service to the Cause of God. In the course of a singularly remarkable life that began in the closing years of the Heroic Age and extended to the very fringes of the second century of the Formative Age, he shone in the firmament of selfless devotion to Bahá’u’lláh and was called upon to be involved in many a major development in the rise of the Administrative Order, whether as a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran, as an intrepid pioneer to Africa in the Ten Year Crusade, as a member of the African Auxiliary Board when it was first created, as a member of the Regional National Spiritual Assembly of Central and East Africa at its inception, and as a member of the International Bahá’í Council when it was first elected, a prelude to his membership on the Universal House of Justice when it was established in 1963. He brought to his decades of monumental service absolute fidelity to his beloved Guardian, an exceptional depth of knowledge of the Cause, leonine commitment to the defence of the Covenant, intense ardour for the teaching work, rare spiritual acuity, and a radiant heart brimming with love for everyone who crossed his path. His was a life of profound spiritual attainment lived at the hinge of history. May his utter consecration, his adamantine faith, and his unswerving dedication to duty inspire generations to come.

Montreal, October 27, 2019 - One of the highlights of the celebration of the Bicentenary of the birth of the Báb in Montreal was surely the series of five talks given by Dr. Todd Lawson, Professor Emeritus at the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at Toronto University.

These series of lectures, given once a year, are in memory of Raymond Flournoy – a long standing member of the Montreal Bahá’í Community -  were focussed on the Life  and earliest Writings of the Báb. The series started with an Introduction to the society in which the Báb lived, His life and Writings before He was 25 years old as well as the Writings which were composed specially before 22 May 1844, the date of His Proclamation to Mullá Husayn in Shiraz.

The series continued with the Báb’s mystical and spiritual experiences, especially in the early months of 1844, His proclamation to Mullá Husayn, revelation  of Qayyúm al-Asmá, focussing on the first chapter entitled, The Surih of Dominion.

The culmination of the series was an emotional experience listening to Todd speaking about the Portrait of the Prophet as a Young Artist! The images of the Báb’s handwriting and His exquisite calligraphic work representing a human temple in a form of a five pointed star was truely astounding! Other pieces such as a circular calligraphic work and various styles of the Báb’s handwriting were also presented.

Todd Lawson is Emeritus Professor of Islamic thought at the University of Toronto. He has published widely on Quran commentary, the Quran as literature, Sufism, and the Bábi and Bahá’í Faiths. His books, The Crucifixion and the Quran was published in 2009, followed by Gnostic Apocalypse and Islam in 2011, the Quran as sacred epic and the most recent one, Being Human in 2019. He is also the editor of Reason and Inspiration in Islam, a collection of essays bringing together the disciplines of theology, philosophy and mysticism.

Todd is convinced that the main things to appreciate is the enormous debt that society, humanity and civilisation at large owes to Islam and the Islamic venture. This has been his ongoing interest. In his surprise when he came to Canada in January of 1968, the first people he met were the Bahá’ís. it was through reading some of the Bahá’í texts that he eventually came to realise that they were full of references to the Quran, and to the Prophet Muhammad and to Islamic spirituality. And that is how all started!

*About illustrations : An unidentified pentacle by the Báb, which according to the caption under the image is "from the reproduction in Qismati az alwah-i-khatt-i-Nuqta-yi Ula," p. 26. Note also a description from Shoghi Effendi, in God Passes By page 69:

It was exclusively to His [Bahá'u'lláh's] care that the documents of the Báb, His pen-case, His seals, and agate rings, together with a scroll on which He had penned, in the form of a pentacle, no less than three hundred and sixty derivatives of the word Bahá’ were delivered, in conformity with instructions He Himself had issued prior to His departure from Chihriq.

The circular shaped talisman drawn by the Báb is also unidentified. Notice the faint imprint from a da'ira towards the bottom.

Da'ira and haykal both mean "talisman," the former being specifically a circular talisman and the latter being (usually) pentacular or square. Peter Smith explains that "the idea that physical object can provide the wearer with some form of supernatural protection" is common in religions around the world. "The Báb instructed his followers to make and wear talismans, and there are numerous references to these in his writings." While the Bahá'í teachings de-emphasize such esoteric practices, there are prayers and other Writings that mention or provide talismanic protection. (Concise Encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith, q.v. talisman) Khazeh Fananapazir adds that in the Persian Bayan the Báb refers to men as "those who possess the hayákil ('ulu'l-hayákil)" and women as "those who possess the dawá'ir ('ulu'l-dawá'ir)" (bayán-i fársí IV:4-5).

Montreal, January 4, 2020 - As the world was getting ready to celebrate the New Year, a soul took its flight to the Eternal Kingdom of God! This beloved soul who devoted most of his life to the service of humanity and who left this fleeting world, was Abdeslam Berrada. He has lived in Laval since 1973 where he served the Laval Community as the Spiritual Assembly member of the Bahá'ís of Laval until 2014. Surrounded by his family, the soul of Mr. Berrada left this world peacefully on December 31, 2019 in Laval at the age of 85.

Abdeslam Berrada was born in 1934 in Ceuta, Spanish territory of North Africa. His father was a judge and an academic who studied at one of the best Arab universities in the world. It is the Karaouiyine University of Fez, known by UNESCO as the oldest university in the world which continues to operate until now!

The name given to Mr. Berrada by his parents was "ʻAbd Salām" - it is an Arabic name which means "Servant of Peace". His name certainly influenced him because he believed deeply in the unity of humanity and the need to work for universal peace. His deep belief in these principles had guided him on his journey to accept the Bahá'í Faith.

Mr. Berrada first heard of the Bahá'í Faith in Ceuta (Spain) in 1954 during the ten-year Crusade. At the time, there were American pioneers such as John Fleming who taught the Bahá'í Faith in that city; which enabled several people, including Mr. Berrada, to become a Bahá’í in 1955 and have the opportunity to form the first Spiritual Assembly, the Local Administrative Body, in Ceuta. He was the member of this Assembly until his move to Tetouan, Morocco in 1958, where he was elected member of the Tetouan Spiritual Assembly between 1958-1963. In 1958, he married Cherifa and they had two sons, Kamal and Samir.

Following an incident in Nador in northern Morocco in 1962, a Baha’i was put in prison. The Tetouan Spiritual Assembly immediately sent four members, including Mr. Berrada, to go to Nador and obtain facts relating to the imprisonment. When they arrived in Nador, they were arrested and put in prison. Lawyers defended the case of these innocent prisoners. Simultaneously, a global campaign against social injustice and human rights forced the gradual release of prisoners, which lasted almost a year. * Ministry of the Custodians

After being released from prison, Mr. Berrada moved to Rabat (Morocco) where he served in the city's Spiritual Assembly between 1963 and 1968, the year of his departure for Canada.

After settling in Canada, Mr. Berrada became a member of the Montreal Spiritual Assembly and served in that institution with Bahá'ís such as Raymond Flournoy, Ron Stee, Loris McEwan and Abdu’l-Rahim Yazdi. He also had the privilege of knowing the early Montreal Bahá'ís such as Emeric Sala, Rosemary Sala and Rowland Estall.

Following a call to complete the number of believers necessary to form a Spiritual Assembly in Laval, Mr. Berrada and his family moved to that city where Mr. Berrada was a member of the Assembly from 1973 until 2014.

During the forty year period that Mr. Berrada was a member of the Laval Assembly, there were a large number of activities including proclamation of the Faith, firesides, prayer sessions, children's classes and summer camps. He also participated as a delegate to National Conventions.

Mr. Berrada and his wife Cherifa also made teaching trips, notably to Martinique in 1991 and to the Northwest Territories of Canada as well as to Spain.

Following Mr. Berrada’s passing, the Universal House of Justice sent a message to the family :

 … May the memory of his courage and fortitude in the face of persecution and hardship be a source of inspiration to all those who knew him. Be assured of the supplications of the House of Justice at the Sacred Threshold for the progress of his illumined soul in the Abhá Kingdom as well as for the comfort and solace of you and other members of his family at this time of bereavement. 

 

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